Additive Manufacturing of alpha-Amino Acid Based Poly(ester amide)s for Biomedical Applications

V. Ansari, A. Calore, J. Zonderland, J.A.W. Harings*, L. Moroni*, K.V. Bernaerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


alpha-Amino acid based polyester amides (PEAs) are promising candidates for additive manufacturing (AM), as they unite the flexibility and degradability of polyesters and good thermomechanical properties of polyamides in one structure. Introducing alpha-amino acids in the PEA structure brings additional advantages such as (i) good cytocompatibility and biodegradability, (ii) providing strong amide bonds, enhancing the hydrogen bonding network, (iii) the introduction of pendant reactive functional groups, and (iv) providing good cell-polymer interactions. However, the application of alpha-amino acid based PEAs for AM via fused deposition modeling (FDM), an important manufacturing technique with unique processing characteristics and requirements, is still lacking. With the aim to exploit the combination of these advantages in the creation, design, and function of additively manufactured scaffolds using FDM, we report the structure-function relationship of a series of alpha-amino acid based PEAs. The PEAs with three different molecular weights were synthesized via the active solution polycondensation, and their performance for AM applications was studied in comparison with a commercial biomedical grade copolymer of L-lactide and glycolide (PLGA). The PEAs, in addition to good thermal stability, showed semicrystalline behavior with proper mechanical properties, which were different depending on their molecular weight and crystallinity. They showed more ductility due to their lower glass transition temperature (T-g; 18-20 & DEG;C) compared with PLGA (57 & DEG;C). The rheology studies revealed that the end-capping of PEAs is of high importance for preventing cross-linking and further polymerization during the melt extrusion and for the steadiness and reproducibility of FDM. Furthermore, our data regarding the steady 3D printing performance, good polymer-cell interactions, and low cytotoxicity suggest that alpha-amino acid based PEAs can be introduced as favorable polymers for future AM applications in tissue engineering. In addition, their ability for formation of bonelike apatite in the simulated body fluid (SBF) indicates their potential for bone tissue engineering applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1100
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2022



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